Fifth-highest bear harvest totals in PA
The final bear harvest is in with a total of 3,510 bears being taken within the state. This marks the fifth highest bear harvest since the Pennsylvania Game Commission has been keeping harvest records.
The largest bear taken was shot by Daniel Beavers of Covington Township, in Lackawanna County. His bruin weighed 772 pounds. The second and third largest bears were taken later in the season by Nick Corridoni of Duryea who's 656 pound bear was shot on Dec. 5 in Pittston Township, Luzerne County. The third largest weighed 640 pounds and was taken by Derek Long in Covington Township, Clearfield County.
One of the top 10 bears was taken with a crossbow by Randall Tressler of McVeytown who arrowed his 598 pounder in Wayne Township, Mifflin County.
Overall, the PGC reports that 197 bears were taken during the 2013 statewide archery season.
Bears were harvested in 53 of the state's 67 counties and unlike many years where the top areas were in the Northeast and north central regions, the northwest represented the top five counties.
Surprisingly, Clinton County, always one of the top bear counties, dropped from the list. The new top counties were: Tioga, 286 (227 in 2012); Lycoming, 234 (341); Potter, 196 (179); Pike, 150 (108); and Warren, 148 (94).
The harvest drop in certain counties is attributed, says the PGC, due to an acorn decline. But the PGC says that the shifting of the harvest is not permanent as Clinton County, for example, should be exceptional next year.
Likewise, Mark Ternent, PGC bear biologist, said that gains in places like Warren County reflects the expansion of the states bear population into an area that was once considered on the fringe of the statewide range. This expansion has been followed by growth in the region's bear population and correspondingly, increasing harvests.
Within our locale here in the Lehigh Valley, the northeast region accounted for 919 bears. The breakdown per county is as follows: Pike, 159 (108 in 2012); Wayne, 127 (73); Sullivan, 105 (60); Luzerne, 98 (57); Carbon, 57 (67); Susquehanna, 55 (41); Lackawanna, 48 (37); Columbia, 24 (36); Northumberland, 14 (26); and Montour, 0 (3).
Here in the Southeast, the per county tally was: Schuylkill, 35 (39); Dauphin, 23 (48); Northampton, 18 (21); Lebanon, 7 (4); Berks, 4 (7); and Lehigh 0 (3).
The harvest per Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)'s for our immediate area were: WMU 3D, 393 (305); WMU 4C, 93 (163); WMU 5C, 16 (16).
For comparison purposes, other Pennsylvania bear harvests were 3,090 in 2010; 3,512 in 2009; 3,458 in 2008; 2,360 in 2007; 3,124 in 2006; 4.162 in 2005; 2,976 in 2004; 3,004 in 2003; 2,686 in 2002; 3,063 in 2001 and 3,075 in 2000. So 3,510 this past season ranks right up there and shows that our bear population doesn't substantially decrease after record harvests, but eventually bounces back.
GREATER PHILADELPHIA OUTDOOR SPORTSHOW
If you missed the renewed Harrisburg sportsmen's show (now called the Great American Outdoor Show) run by the NRA, you'll get a another shot at the smaller, but content filled, Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow held in the Expo Center in Oak, Pa. when it opens its doors for a Feb. 13-16 four-day run.
For more information and directions to the show, check out www.sportshows.com. Or call 603-431-4315.